Xiaomi has announced that it sold over 70 million smartphones over the course of the entire 2015 fiscal year. The company didn’t state exactly how many smartphones were sold, but it has improved on its 2014 total by around 10 million units. It’s not all positive for Xiaomi though, it missed its own 80 million projection set for 2015 which itself was reduced from an original target of 100 million…

In years previous, Xiaomi went virtually unchallenged in China as one of the only manufacturers building cheap smartphones with high end specifications. Over the past couple of years, the number of competitors has risen drastically, leaving the once-king of Chinese smartphone sales struggling to grow. Recently, for instance, its status as the #1 smartphone maker in China was taken by Huawei, a competitor which is also making strides internationally.

In order to continue competing and challenging its rival, Xiaomi’s next critical moves will be to expand its global reach, starting with UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Saudi Arabia.

Dubai-based distributor, Task FZCO has confirmed to the Saudi Gazette that it has signed a deal with carrier, Etisalat, to bring Xiaomi’s smartphones to the UAE market. The carrier will sell the Redmi Note 2 Pro, Redmi Note 2, Mi 4i and Mi Note initially.

“We are truly excited to bring Xiaomi’s range of mobile devices to the UAE. With the core value proposition of high quality smartphones packed with features well above their price point, we hope to become a significant player in the market,” said Givemore Gurira, Chief Operating Officer, TASK FZCO

Pricing for the three models will run as follows:

  • Redmi Note 2 Pro – AED 449 (approx $122)
  • Redmi Note 2 – AED 719 (approx $196)
  • Mi 4i – AED 899 (approx $245)
  • Mi Note – AED 1699 (approx $463)

Following the launch in UAE, Task FZCO is planning to launch Xiaomi smartphones in Saudi Arabia towards the end of the month, with a more widespread launch to neighboring nations within the next few months.

While a rollout in East Asia is a good thing for Xiaomi, it’s still yet to properly launch its devices in more established markets. It doesn’t yet have an official presence in central Europe, the UK or the US. But there have been rumors for some time that it will officially enter the US market, although those rumors are yet to materialize.

For now, I can’t help but feel that its focus on emerging markets is a smart move. But eventually, as those markets mature, Xiaomi will have to spread to existing, competitive markets at some point. With the likes of Huawei and OnePlus gaining traction in those areas, Xiaomi should seek to challenge as soon as possible if it wants to start growing significantly again.

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